Sterling, Best Dog Ever

illus. by Aidan Cassie. 40p. Farrar. Jul. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374306144.
PreS-Gr 2—Sterling, a long, thin, gray dog who vaguely resembles a fork, lives in a box outside a cutlery manufacturer. He's always wanted a home, but has never had much luck in keeping one. This time, he hopes, things will be different. He packages himself up with a box of forks, which is delivered to the Gilbert family. Despite not being what they ordered, the family decides to keep him. Unfortunately, Sterling thinks he is a kitchen utensil, and is determined to be as handy in every way possible. It takes him a while to realize that what the family really wants, is for Sterling to be himself. The author reveals that this story is loosely based on her own childhood experiences with her dachshund, elevating this quirky tale and making it relatable to families with their own odd pet or two, or perhaps even those considering adding a new shelter pet to the household. The vibrant full-bleed illustrations are slightly reminiscent of Berkeley Breathed's Flawed Dogs, and the portrayal of a mixed-race family adds an extra layer to this story.
VERDICT This engaging tale of belonging, unconditional love, and acceptance will be a hit at storytimes and for one-on-one sharing.

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